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Thermoelectric Harvesting Using Warm-Blooded Animals in Wildlife Tracking Applications

Laboratory for the Design of Microsystems-IMTEK, University of Freiburg, Georges-Koehler-Allee 102, 79110 Freiburg, Germany
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This paper is an extended version of the authors’ paper “Thermal energy harvesting through the fur of endothermic animals”, published in 19th International Conference on Micro and Nanotechnology for Power Generation and Energy Conversion Applications (PowerMEMS), 2–6 December 2019 in Kraków, Poland.
Energies 2020, 13(11), 2769; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13112769
Received: 24 April 2020 / Revised: 12 May 2020 / Accepted: 17 May 2020 / Published: 1 June 2020
This paper focuses on the design of an optimized thermal interface for a thermoelectric energy harvesting system mounted at endothermic animals. In this application scenario the mammal’s fur reduces the heat flux from the animal’s body through a thermoelectric generator (TEG) to the ambient air. This requires an adapted design of the thermal interface between TEG and body surface, to increase its thermal conductivity without harming the animal. For this purpose the thermal conductivity through a mammal’s fur is determined with a specially designed heatsink. An analytical model is built to predict the resulting thermal resistances and is validated with experimental results for two different fur lengths. We show that an optimized design of the thermal interface reduces its thermal resistance up to 38% compared to a trivial design while lowering its weight for about 23%. It is found that the most important design parameter of such a thermal connector is the ability to slide into the fur. View Full-Text
Keywords: tracker; wildlifetracking; heat flux; thermal resistance; thermal conductance; thermal energy harvesting; endothermic animal; fur tracker; wildlifetracking; heat flux; thermal resistance; thermal conductance; thermal energy harvesting; endothermic animal; fur
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Bäumker, E.; Beck, P.; Woias, P. Thermoelectric Harvesting Using Warm-Blooded Animals in Wildlife Tracking Applications. Energies 2020, 13, 2769.

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